Woman In A Yellow Jacket In The Rain
(Image credit: shironosov)

Most people instinctively run for shelter when it starts raining. It can certainly be a little perilous to risk getting soaked and chilled. On the other hand, though, is rain relaxing? It definitely is and you can benefit from the stress relief rain provides both by enjoying it while under cover and actually getting out in the rain and letting it soak you.

How Does Rain Reduce Stress?

April showers bring May flowers and so much more. If you find rainy days relaxing, you’re not alone. There are several ways that rain soothes and relieves stress:

  • Petrichor - The word for that unique fragrance produced when it is raining is petrichor. It’s a combination of a number of compounds and chemical reactions triggered by rain hitting plants, soil, and bacteria. Most people find the smell refreshing and invigorating.
  • Sounds - A good rain enriches the senses, not just smell but also by sound. The patter of rain on the roof, an umbrella or, better yet, the tops of leaves is relaxing and soothing.
  • Cleans air - Dust and other particles in the air are absorbed by droplets of rain. The air is actually cleaner when it rains.
  • Solitude - Most people will head inside when it rains, which means time spent outside provides peace and solitude, a perfect opportunity for reflection. If something is particularly stressful in your life, the sounds, smells, and solitude of being out in the rain will help you think through it.

Walking or Gardening in the Rain for Stress Relief

You can reduce stress with rain by sitting under a patio roof or next to an open window, but why not get outside and experience it fully? If you’re going to walk or work in the garden in the rain, be sure to also stay safe:

  • Stay inside if there is any thunder or lightning.
  • Dress appropriately in rain gear that will keep you at least partly dry.
  • If you do get soaked, avoid staying out too long, as you could develop hypothermia.
  • Once back inside, change into dry, warm clothes, and if you feel chilled take a hot shower.

A walk in the rain is a great way to enjoy this part of nature we too often hide from, but also try gardening in the rain. Certain chores can be done in the rain. For instance, pulling weeds is easier with soaked soil. Take advantage of the rain to put down fertilizer. It will get soaked in right away. As long as it’s not raining too hard and creating standing water, this is also a great time to put in new plants and sturdy transplants as well.

Mary Ellen Ellis

Mary Ellen Ellis has been gardening for over 20 years. With degrees in Chemistry and Biology, Mary Ellen's specialties are flowers, native plants, and herbs.